Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) challenged President Joe Biden’s Education Secretary nominee on his statement it is “appropriate” to allow boys to compete in girls’ sports by asking, “What planet are you from?”
During a confirmation hearing Wednesday of the Senate committee that oversees education, the Kentucky senator asked Miguel Cardona if he thinks it is “fair” to allow boys claiming to be transgender to participate in girls’ sports, and about how it affects girls competing in these athletic events.
“I think it is appropriate,” Cardona replied. “It is the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender.”
Asked by Paul if he would enforce the Trump administration’s Office for Civil Rights rule stating boys cannot compete with girls in sports, Cardona, who has served as education commissioner in Connecticut, responded, “If confirmed, it’s my responsibility and my privilege to make sure that we’re following civil rights of all students. And that includes activities that they may engage in in high school or athletics.”
“What do you think in general about boys running in girls’ track meets, like they’ve been doing in Connecticut?” Paul continued.
“I think that it’s critically important that … education systems and educators respect the rights of all students including students who are transgender, and that they are afforded the opportunities that every other student has to participate in extracurricular activities,” Cardona answered. Paul challenged him:
Does it bother you that like the top 20 percent of boys running in track meets beat all of the girls in the state, that … it would … completely destroy girls’ athletics, that girls are being pushed out?.They don’t make the finals in the state meet, they don’t get college scholarships, that it’s really detrimental to girls’ sports. Do you worry about having boys run in girls’ track meets?
I recognize and appreciate the concerns, and the frustrations that are expressed. As commissioner of education, I have had conversations with families who have felt the way you just described it, and families of students who are transgender. So, I understand that this is a challenge, and I look forward to working with you and others to –
“Do you think it’s fair to have boys running in the girls’ track meet?” Paul interjected.
“I think it’s appropriate for … I think it’s, it’s the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender,” Cardona persisted.
“So, you don’t have a problem with boys running in the girls’ track meets, swimming meets, name it, you’re okay then with boys competing with girls?” Paul pressed him.
“Respectfully, Senator, I think I answered the question,” Cardona stated. “I believe schools should offer the opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular activities, even if they’re transgender. I think that’s their right.”
Let’s be clear: Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 25, 2020
Paul then reacted to Cardona’s statement it is “appropriate” to have a policy that could end girls’ and women’s sports:
That’s bizarre … I come from a family that has a lot of girls who have competed in college athletics and been state champions and, frankly, you know, some boy that’s six foot two, competing against my five foot four niece doesn’t sound very fair.
I think most people in the country think that’s bizarre, you know, that is just completely bizarre and unfair that people – and you’re going to run the Department of Education – you’ve got no problem with it. That concerns me, and I think it’s this kind of thing is gonna lead to really just the vast majority of America just wondering who are these people that think it’s okay, what planet are you from? I mean to think it’s okay for boys to compete with girls in a track meet, that that somehow would be fair.
“I wonder where feminists are on this,” Paul asked. “I wonder where the people who supported women’s sports are on this. I mean are we all gonna be okay with hulking six foot four guys, you know, wrestling against girls?”
Paul then remarked on Cardona’s evasive way of responding to his questions:
It just makes no sense whatsoever, and, so, I think the fact that you seem to be afraid to answer the question, or you basically do answer the question by saying it’s okay without saying it’s okay, really is a statement to a real problem we have, and a disconnect between what Middle America and what most Americans actually believe. I even think most Democrats don’t believe girls should run in a boys’ track meet … boys should run in a girls’ track meet.
“So, I’m disappointed in the answer and I just can’t imagine that we’re going to have a policy like that nationally,” Paul asserted.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) also voiced his concern about Cardona’s responses to Paul’s questions.
“I want to associate myself with a number of things said by Sen. Paul,” Romney began, adding, “That’s not something I say very frequently.”
“But, he made a very, very good point,” he said, explaining:
I’ve got pictures of my eight granddaughters among some grandsons behind me. They shouldn’t be competing with people who are physiologically entirely in a different category. And I think boys should be competing with boys and girls with girls on the athletic field.
Cardona was tapped by Biden after having served as education commissioner in Connecticut, where three high school girls filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the state for forcing them to compete against several boys who claimed to be transgender.
The complaint was filed with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
ADF representative Christiana Holcomb said:
Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides. Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women under this law. We shouldn’t force these young women to be spectators in their own sports.
President Donald Trump’s deputies have restored the biology-based definition of sexual discrimination in federal healthcare rules, ending the novel transgender definition, which was inserted by Obama. https://t.co/S8L9l8K37g
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 13, 2020
In May, the Trump administration said the Connecticut policy of allowing boys to compete as girls is a violation of the civil rights of athletes of the female sex. The following month, the Trump Department of Health and Human Services restored the biology-based definition of sexual discrimination in federal healthcare rules.
President Joe Biden, however, on his first day in office, said he would be removing any legal recognition of the two sexes with an executive order that handed sweeping rights to those who claim to be transgender, including allowing them to compete in single-sex sports.